Newark airport monorail still out, with no date for service resumption : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread Newark Airport monorail still out, with no date for service resumption

Thursday, February 3, 2000

By PAT R. GILBERT Staff Writer

The monorail at Newark International Airport remained closed for a fourth straight day Wednesday because of systemwide electrical problems. Officials could not say when it would reopen to airline passengers.

Engineers were still trying to find out what is causing short circuits in the power supply. The outage could be related to severe cold weather and recent snowstorms, officials said.

"We are striving to get it back into service as soon as possible," said Port Authority spokesman Bill Cahill. "At this point, we're not in a position to guarantee it'll be back at any particular time."

Problems first appeared during the Jan. 25 storm, when dips in power occurred throughout the airport. The monorail experienced problems with icing, and closed at 11 a.m. Some service was restored by 7:45 p.m.

Sunday night, the monorail was shut down again after short circuits occurred in the switch areas of the monorail, which caused some burning of anchor brackets. Engineers from Adtranz, the Pittsburgh company that operates and maintains the system, have been inspecting the system for damage.

Angry passengers who arrived at the airport earlier this week learned about the outage only after attempting to use the monorail.

But Wednesday, the agency issued a news release advising air travelers to use the airport's automated phone system at (888) EWR-INFO [397-4636] for monorail updates or tune into the Department of Transportation's advisory radio station 530 AM.

Asked why the agency did not put the word out to travelers earlier, John Jacoby, assistant manager of airport services, said Tuesday: "We kept feeling we'd get the system back. We were optimistic about getting it back sooner than was the case. We need to do a better job of getting out information. Staff will have to look at this when we do have an outage that will be extensive."

The agency is providing about 20 additional shuttle buses to carry passengers from the parking lots to the terminals, along with representatives who can direct travelers. Passengers are encouraged to allow additional time.

The monorail carries about 32,000 weekday passengers and whisks them from parking and rental car lots to the terminals. Officials said the shutdown is the longest one the monorail has experienced since opening in 1996.

-- Homer Beanfang (, February 03, 2000


They said it might have been caused by cold weather. Like what? Frozen electrons?

-- Earl (, February 03, 2000.

must not have been cold in Newark from 96- present:-)

-- yeah right (, February 03, 2000.

Could this be "the wrong sort of snow" putting in a guest appearance in the USA?

For USA readers who don't understand: a few years ago the UK got about 1cm of fine dry powder snow overnight, and just about every new train on a certain line broke down next morning. A railway spokesman when quizzed about how so little snow could cause so much damage to brand new trains called it "the wrong sort of snow", to universal hoots of derision.

(To be fair: powder show is exceptionally rare in the UK. It usually comes down as moist flakes here).

-- Nigel (, February 04, 2000.

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